Thursday, November 29, 2007

EQUALITY WINS ROUND ONE - CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE TO MARRIAGE BAN WILL PROCEED

A constitutional challenge to last year’s marriage and civil unions ban can proceed - and that’s good news for those who support civil liberties and fairness, according to Fair Wisconsin. The group that advocates for full equality for all Wisconsinites hailed yesterday’s decision by Dane County Judge Rick Niess allowing the challenge to proceed.

“Yesterday’s ruling highlighted the need for voters to have confidence in the voting process,” noted Michele Perreault, attorney and Vice President of Fair Wisconsin. “Voting, as the bedrock of our democratic society, is to be protected above all. Based on this reasoning, Judge Niess allowed a challenge to the constitutional amendment banning marriage and civil unions to go forward. That’s good news for all families.”

The challenge is based on another provision in the Wisconsin Constitution which forbids “logrolling” in proposals to amend the Constitution. That is, any proposed amendment to the Constitution must be limited to a single subject so that voters can make separate decisions about each proposed change. The plaintiff in the case, married father of nine William McConkey, contends that the amendment violated the Constitution by offering two distinct questions. The amendment forbids same-sex couples from marrying, and also forbids the State from providing for a legal relationship identical to or substantially similar to that of marriage for all couples.

McConkey contends that the legislature violated the anti-logrolling provision. Polling in 2005 and 2006 showed that voters supported allowing same-sex couples similar legal protections as those provided by marriage, such as through Vermont-style civil unions, but felt marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples. By placing both questions in one proposed amendment, voters were forced to vote the same way on both questions, even if given the choice they would have voted no on one question and yes on the other. Fair Wisconsin warned legislators about this violation before and during the campaign.

“Judge Niess was exactly right. All Wisconsin voters have a right to a procedurally legitimate referendum on a proposal to amend Wisconsin’s Constitution, and all voters are harmed by having a constitutionally defective question placed before them,” Perreault noted. “It’s clear there were two distinct questions on the ballot - and that is not constitutional.”

The next step is for Judge Niess to rule on whether the amendment adopted by the voters last year was in fact procedurally defective and therefore illegitimate. Fair Wisconsin is confident that when given a real choice, Wisconsin voters will vote for fairness for all Wisconsin citizens. For more information about Fair Wisconsin and its efforts to advance civil liberties, visit www.fairwisconsin.com.

2 Comments:

Blogger Eman said...

I don't hide behind pollsters. I don't hide behind labels. I am up front and honest with my chin out there about what I believe and whom I believe, regardless the outcome. I have fervent beliefs, and I'm not going to sit around and hope the things I believe in, happen. I would much rather have enemies than for people to not know who I am. I would much rather have enemies because of what I stand for. I would much rather have enemies and be insulted than to go through life as a squishy little sponge.

Marriage is a privilege and not a right.

With Gay Marriage, you are allowing righteousness to be subordinated to tactics. We have a situation that can only be described as rampant lawlessness. We have certain citizens who are violating the democratically, legally expressed will of their fellow citizens in there saying, "Up yours." There have been repeated efforts to enforce the law. Those aren't working, either. The Governor of California called up his attorney general and said, "You go make them stop." He said, "You make them stop, Terminator, but you can't stop me." Then the lawbreakers decide to go on the offense and sue the state because the ballot initiative was illegal anyway. They want to say it's unconstitutional, and given the judges we've got who knows what is going to come out of this. At some point, if it is judged by the president to be an institution worth holding onto and maintaining because of its value to culture and society, he's got to fight for it.

One of the other things that hacks me off about this, is we're supposed to subordinate righteousness, to tactics. We're not going to do what's right because we're afraid what they're going to say about us. We're not going to do what's right because we're afraid somebody might pummel us for two years. What about the fact that, if that happens, there might be an uprising in this country from people who are fed up with being pummeled? The majority, who said, "Screw this! You know, we've looked the other way for too many years. We've bent over backwards and forwards for too many years!" What if they stand up and stay, "We darn well are going to have this amendment and we're going to support it," and what if they start telling all these little wimps in Congress who are afraid like everybody else is afraid what somebody is going to think of them what they'd better do or we’re sunk, or they're not going to be working there anymore? What then? Why can't we take the occasion here to think that this may be a unifying event that may cause something positive to happen and put the brakes on the cultural degradation that is happening? You know, I don't like this business of subordinating what we do to the tactic.

December 01, 2007 7:35 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

I don't understand why so many people want the government to get involved with marriage. If you don't support gay marriage then don't join a church that supports gay marriage. Plain and simple. The government should not have any say on who a church can or can not marry just as the government should not force a church to marry anyone that they do not want married.

December 01, 2007 8:59 PM  

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